Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Fruit & Veggies Protect Against Cognitive Decline

A recent study demonstrated that a diet that includes flavonoids is likely to protect against cognitive decline.  Flavonoids are found in fruit and vegetables and are high in antioxidants. 

Researchers evaluated diet data over 20 years from 49,493 female and 27,842 male health professionals.  The women completed 7 food questionnaires and their subjective cognitive decline was assessed in 2012 and 2014.  The men completed 5 food questionnaires and their subjective cognitive decline was assessed in 2008 and 2012. 

A higher intake of flavonoid-rich foods was associated with lower odds of subjective cognitive decline.  The study participants with the highest consumption of flavonoids had 20% less risk of cognitive decline than the group with the lowest flavonoid intake.  Foods with significant flavonoids include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, oranges, grapefruit, apples, pears, celery, peppers, red cabbage, onions, kale, soybeans, and tea. 

Foods high in flavonoids also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers, as well as the cognitive diseases dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Takeaway: Eat your fruits and veggies to reduce risk of cognitive decline.

Sources

Tian-Shin Yeh, et al., Long-term Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Subjective Cognitive Decline in US Men and Women, Neurology, July 28, 2021, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34321362/.

Nourish by WebMD, Top Foods High in Flavonoids, https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-flavonoids#1.

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